Thursday, November 20, 2008

Klan Takes $2.5 Million Dollar Beating

Jordan Gruver at 16. He was beaten by the KKK. Photographer/date unknown.
Jordan Gruver at 16. He was beaten by the KKK. Photographer/date unknown.

Young Man Awarded $2.5 Million After Beating by Imperial Klans of America

The KKK tried to kick Jordan Gruver to death. By mistake.

They thought he was an illegal immigrant, just another Hispanic.

Actually Jordan is an American citizen. His parents were Native-American and Panamanian. Just a case of mistaken identity.

Not that anything helps when big people are kicking the shit out of you.


An all-white jury of seven men and seven women deliberated for five hours after three days of testimony. The suit alleged that Edwards, Hensley, and the Imperial Klans of America as a whole incited its members to use violence against minorities.

"The people of Meade County, Kentucky, have spoken loudly and clearly. And what they've said is that ethnic violence has no place in our society, that those who promote hate and violence will be held accountable and made to pay a steep price," Dees said.

According to testimony, three members of the Klan group confronted Gruver in July 2006 during a recruiting mission at the Meade County Fair in Brandenberg, Kentucky. They taunted him with ethnic slurs -- inaccurate ones -- spat on him and doused him with alcohol .Two of the men, including Hensley, knocked Gruver to the ground and repeatedly struck and kicked him.

"All I could see was a bunch of feet," Gruver, now 19, told the jury. "As they were kicking me, I prayed to myself. I said, 'God, just please let me go. Please let me make it home.' "

When the blows stopped, Gruver had a broken jaw, broken left forearm, two cracked ribs and cuts and bruises.

He testified that he has suffered permanent nerve damage and psychological trauma. He doesn't leave his house and rarely sleeps more than two hours at a time because he has nightmares, CNN affiliate WLKY reported.

There's more...
Thank you Southern Poverty Law Center.

The SPLC stands up to bullies, they stand up to racists.
Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center today won a crushing jury verdict against one of the nation's largest Klan groups for its role in the brutal beating of a teenager at a county fair in rural Kentucky.

The $2.5 million verdict will likely cripple the Imperial Klans of America, which has 16 chapters in eight states.

Several Klansmen were at the fair on a recruiting mission when they spotted Gruver, who is a U.S. citizen of Panamanian descent. They threw whisky in his face and called him a "spic." Gruver, who stood 5-foot-3 and weighed just 150 pounds at the time, was surrounded, beaten to the ground and kicked by the Klansmen, one of whom was 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds. He was left with a broken jaw and arm, two cracked ribs and multiple cuts. He now suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome and has permanent arm and jaw injuries.

The attack on Gruver is symptomatic of a rising tide of hate and violence directed toward Latinos in the United States. The SPLC has documented at 48 percent rise in the number of hate groups since 2000 — an increase fueled by the anti-immigration furor. Recent FBI statistics show a 40 percent increase in hate crimes targeting Latinos between 2003 and 2007.

Former Klansman Kale Kelly testified at the trial that Edwards instructed him to kill Dees during the SPLC's lawsuit against the Aryan Nations in the late 1990s. Kelly said he planned to track Dees in Idaho, where the trial was held, and that Edwards would supply the weapon. But in April 1999, within days of the plot being executed, an FBI undercover operation foiled the plan. Kelly served time in federal prison on weapons charges. Edwards was never charged.

Over the past 25 years, the SPLC has crippled some of the nation's largest and most violent hate groups by helping victims of racial violence sue for monetary damages. Its victories include a $7 million verdict against the United Klans of America in 1987 for the lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile, Ala.; a $12.4 million verdict against the White Aryan Resistance in 1990 for the brutal murder of an Ethiopian student in Portland; and a $6.3 million verdict against the Aryan Nations in 2000 that forced the organization to give up its 20-acre compound in Idaho.
The SPLC does amazing work in the face of violent, ignorant people.

I'm a big fan. Well done.

David Neiwert has been speaking of this.
Crooks and Liars

As we predicted before the election, Barack Obama's victory has loosed a flood of hatefulness from the racist right in America. Digby yesterday had a detailed post laying out some of the cases that have erupted so far.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

In rural Georgia, a group of high-schoolers gets a visit from the Secret Service after posting "inappropriate" comments about President-elect Barack Obama on the Web. In Raleigh, N.C., four college students admit to spraying race-tinged graffiti in a pedestrian tunnel after the election. On Nov. 6, a cross burns on the lawn of a biracial couple in Apolacon Township, Pa.

The election of America's first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters' comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama's election to be a potent recruiting tool – one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element.

I talked to the SPLC's Mark Potok this morning, and here are his observations:

I think there's something remarkable happening out there. I think we really are beginning to see a white backlash that may grow fairly large. The situation's worrying.

Not only do we have continuing nonwhite immigration, not only is the economy in the tank and very likely to get worse, but we have a black man in the White House. That is driving a kind of rage in a certain sector of the white population that is very, very worrying to me.

We are seeing literally hundreds of incidents around the country -- from cross-burnings to death threats to effigies hanging to confrontations in schoolyards, and it's quite remarkable.

I think that there are political leaders out there who are saying incredibly irresponsible things that could have the effect of undamming a real flood of hate. That includes media figures. On immigration, they have been some of the worst.

There's a lot going on, and it's very likely to lead to scapegoating. And in the end, scapegoating leaves corpses in the street.

Gun sales are up.

Threats against the President-Elect are up. (Thank you Sarah Palin.)

And 2nd & 3rd graders in Rexburg, Idaho repeatedly chanted on their school bus, "Assassinate Obama".

The people who have spent their lives in service of the 28%, do NOT want to live in reality. They will FIGHT to live in the world where whatever fantasy they make up is true.

Jury Verdicts of $2.5 million dollars are good. They help...
  • Wake people up.
  • Fund good education.
  • Shutdown bad people.
Well done, SPLC.

Hang in there, Jordan.